Film Production Explained in Six Stages | Films4U
The Six Stages of Film Production
If you’re thinking about becoming a film investor, there’s no such thing as knowing too much. The more information you acquire, the more adept you’ll become in terms of choosing which projects to work on.
This short but concise overview covers the film production process from beginning to end and is ideal for budding film financiers who are new to the industry and want to learn the finer details before taking the next step.
This initial first step involves the birth of the idea. At this point, the filmmaker conceptualises their story and develops it into a script. The point of this stage in the film production process is to create something palpable that can be pitched to a producer.
The scriptwriting stage normally involves, but is by no means limited to:
- The idea itself. This is typically a brainstorming process designed to explore scenarios, suggest characters, and develop an overall narrative arc. It is not the finished story, but merely the bare bones of one.
- A single line. How can this story be aptly summed up? This single sentence should clearly explain what the movie is about. That way, at this point in the film production process, the writer has a concise summary to work with.
- Theme. What sort of movie is this? Will it be a blockbuster science-fiction film, an epic on the scale of Michael Mann’s Heat, a boy-meets-girl rom-com, or a realistic historical saga?
- Script & screenplay. Once the genre, characters, and overall trajectory of the story have been honed and defined, it’s time to create a first draft of the screenplay to present to the producer.
This stage of the film production process may run on a loop, in that additional drafts of the screenplay may be required – provided the story is deemed to have box-office or streaming potential. Financing may be informally discussed during these preliminary meetings, although this is a process in itself.
If the script is a hit with the producer – and any other decision-makers involved in the project – it’s time to think about financing. How exactly will this movie be bankrolled? Without funding from investors, this stage of the film production process could prove challenging and the movie may not get off the ground.
Fortunately, two government-backed schemes exist designed to encourage active investment in the film industry. These are the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Both share common traits but are different in other ways.
As much as 30% of the money invested in a company that meets EIS criteria can be offset against the previous year’s tax.
This scheme is similar to EIS, with the only exception being that you can claim back up to 50% of tax instead. This is because you’ll be investing in smaller, riskier companies.
Why are tax benefits offered by the government for the film production sector? Although great rewards can be reaped in this industry (which is thriving despite the adverse economic landscape we find ourselves in) it isn’t without its risks.
These schemes aim to foster investment from film financiers who might otherwise be reluctant to fund projects run by small indie production companies with little or no demonstrable track record.
Once the finance stage of the film production process has been agreed on – and investors have been allocated their shares – pre-production of the film can finally begin.
This point in the film production process is pivotal. If the producer does not work hard and act smart at this stage, the film could fail. That’s because pre-production is all about deciding how to shoot and where, planning out timings, and dealing with other important matters like budget.
It’s just as important to choose the right characters as it is to select the right locations. In fact, both these elements will need to work in synergy. One cannot be added arbitrarily to the other.
Framing and composition will also form part of this step in the film production process. What’s the best way to create memorable and striking shots of characters in their locations? Consideration must therefore be given to costume, lighting, and camerawork.
Additionally, the production crew must be briefed and managed to ensure the process runs smoothly from beginning to end.
If the pre-production stage has been successfully completed, this step will be easier. During this busy phase, it is a question of being organised – so that you are slightly ahead of schedule.
The priority is to keep within budget and not deviate from the agreed schedule. This means that all departments across all locations but must be in constant communication with one another.
Once step four has been completed, the (arguably) most important stage of the film production process can commence. This is the point at which the film gets cut. This stage is challenging and requires exceptional attention to detail, else the finished product won’t make the grade.
The sub-stages of the post-production stage involve:
- Deciding which editing format is most suitable
- Procuring a qualified picture and sound editor
- Replacing dialogue where needed
- Recording/mixing the sound
- Securing the titles and package
- Creating a dialogue script
- Making images and trailers
Once this leg of the process is finished, the movie is wrapped up and it’s time to start marketing to the masses – so that all the time, money, and emotion invested in the project leads to a sure-fire hit in theatres or homes around the world.
The marketing stage in the film production process involves creating publicity for the film – so moviegoers know its release date, who its stars are, and can find out more about the story.
Through extensive advertising and promotion – including posts, press kits, and trailer drops on social media – the studio will look to get its prospective audience excited about the movie.
There’s likely to be a launch party, press interviews with members of the cast, preview screenings and showings at carefully-chosen festival events in the lead-up to the release date.
A few months after release – if the movie was played at cinemas – the film will be ported to DVD or a streaming service via a distributor.
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Now that you understand the film production process in more depth, you will probably want to find out more. Contact us with your questions, so we can advise you further. Alternatively, complete our simple online application form.